Fact: HUN HYUNG PARK filed a criminal action against the EUNG WON CHOI for violation of BP 22 to the MeTC. EUNG WON CHOI filed a demurred to evidence with leave of court assailing that the HUN HYUNG PARK failed to prove that he received the notice of dishonor, hence, the presumption of the element of knowledge of insufficiency of funds did not arise. MeTC granted the Demurrer to evidence of the EUNG WON CHOI. After denying his MR, HUN HYUNG PARK appealed to the RTC. RTC held that while the evidence presented was insufficient to prove EUNG WON CHOI’s criminal liability, it did not altogether extinguish his civil liability. It accordingly granted the appeal of HUN HYUNG PARK and ordered EUNG WON CHOI to pay him the amount of ₱1,875,000 with legal interest. Upon EUNG WON CHOI’s motion for reconsideration, however, the RTC set aside its decision and ordered the remand of the case to the MeTC “for further proceedings, so that the EUNG WON CHOI may adduce evidence on the civil aspect of the case.”9 HUN HYUNG PARK’s motion for reconsideration of the remand of the case having been denied, he elevated the case to the CA which, by the assailed resolutions, dismissed his petition for faulty appeal requisite. Hence this case.
Issue: Whether the dismissal of the Criminal complaint also dismisses the Civil Complaint with finality?
Held: No, Unless the offended party waives the civil action or reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action, there are two actions involved in a criminal case. The first is the criminal action for the punishment of the offender. The parties are the People of the Philippines as the plaintiff and the accused. In a criminal action, the private complainant is merely a witness for the State on the criminal aspect of the action. The second is the civil action arising from the delict. The private complainant is the plaintiff and the accused is the defendant. There is a merger of the trial of the two cases to avoid multiplicity of suits.
It bears recalling that the MeTC acquitted respondent. As a rule, a judgment of acquittal is immediately final and executory and the prosecution cannot appeal the acquittal because of the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy. Either the offended party or the accused may, however, appeal the civil aspect of the judgment despite the acquittal of the accused. The public prosecutor has generally no interest in appealing the civil aspect of a decision acquitting the accused. The acquittal ends his work. The case is terminated as far as he is concerned. The real parties in interest in the civil aspect of a decision are the offended party and the accused.
The civil action based on delict may, however, be deemed extinguished if there is a finding on the final judgment in the criminal action that the act or omission from which the civil liability may arise did not exist.